Persimmon interim profits up a third

Persimmon’s summer trading this year has been 5% ahead of 2014 and, after a strong May and June, it is expecting lots of visitors to its show homes come September.

“We anticipate a good autumn selling season after the summer holiday period draws to a close,” said chairman Nicholas Wrigley.

For the six months ended 30th June 2015, Persimmon made a pre-tax profit of £272.8m, up 31% on the £208.9m made in the first half of 2014. Revenue was up 11% to £1.33bn (2014: £1.20bn).

Legal completions increased 7% to 6,855 new homes sold (2014: 6,408) with the average selling price rising 4% to £194,378 (2014: £186,970).

Mr Wrigley said that customer activity remained healthy throughout the first half of 2015 and strengthened after the general election in early May.

While some leading house-builders have been focusing their attentions on southeast England, Persimmon is operating across the country. This year it has opened two new offices, one in Stockton to cover the Teesside region and a second in Castle Bromwich for the Central region.

Persimmon has invested £2.17bn in land since 2012, opened 607 new sites including the 122 new outlets opened in the first half of 2015, and built 41,800 new homes.

In the first half of 2015 it acquired 8,565 new plots across 52 sites and secured planning consent for 2,974 plots from its strategic land bank on 16 outlets. It also added a further 1,300 acres of land to its strategic land portfolio, which now totals approximately 18,000 acres.

Persimmon now has 92,404 plots of land owned and under control in its consented land bank, as of 30th June 2015 (June 2014: 82,250 plots).

Group chief executive Jeff Fairburn said: “Persimmon has traded well in the first half of 2015. The Group continues to take advantage of the current market opportunities to deliver sustainable growth whilst also utilising its excellent cash generation to build a strong asset platform for the future. We have now entered the traditionally slower summer weeks for the market. Our private sale reservation rate since 1 July is currently 5% ahead of the same period last year which is a reflection of the continuation of healthy customer demand.

“The performance in the first half of 2015 further demonstrates the results of the group’s focus on successfully executing its operational objectives and the delivery of the 10-year strategic plan launched in 2012. We are confident that our long term strategic focus through the current cycle will continue to deliver strong returns for our shareholders.”